Comment author: Milan_Griffes 13 February 2018 03:18:38PM 0 points [-]

I donated 92% to the donor lottery, 8% to GiveDirectly.

Also made a "fuzzies" donation to the meditation group I attend.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 09 February 2018 01:27:23AM 0 points [-]

When is the next round of EA grants opening?

Are you considering accepting applications on a rolling basis?

Comment author: landon 06 February 2018 04:44:29PM 0 points [-]

Hey I think this is really cool. Do you have any other recommended reading that's similar to this? I'm really interested in improving mental health and increasing joy as it compares to reducing suffering through other means, like most of EA focuses on.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 06 February 2018 10:54:53PM 0 points [-]

Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living is the best book on MBSR. It sorta drags in the middle though – I recommend reading the first third & using the rest as a reference.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 31 January 2018 03:41:02PM *  14 points [-]

I also find it more instructive to think of it in terms of percentages -- the Global Development fund still holds 49% of all money it has received all time, the far future fund holds 95%, and the community fund holds 71%.

There can definitely be good reasons for this (such as more merits for giving later vs. giving now, or saving up to give a larger grant in one big batch). I don't know whether it's an intentional application of one of those two things or just that Nick and Ellie are exceptionally busy and have more important priorities than the EA Funds, but it would be nice for more transparency as to why funds are distributed the way they are. (Lewis does a good job at this.)

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 01 February 2018 03:22:29AM 0 points [-]

Minor typo: it's "Elie" not "Ellie"

Comment author: Khorton 22 January 2018 09:53:04AM 2 points [-]

It might be difficult to estimate the likelihood of the N Korean population overthrowing their government, and how much of a difference each flash drive makes, but I'd be interested to see an estimate as well if someone wants to try.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 22 January 2018 11:18:50PM 3 points [-]

Also complicated to assess the sign of a North Korean popular uprising. Depending on the geopolitical background, it seems like that could result in an overthrow of the regime, or a crackdown coupled with a more aggressive foreign policy stance (or some other outcome).

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 22 January 2018 11:06:42PM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for writing this up – the ceiling-cost estimate seems like a valuable tool for comparing interventions across different cause areas.

Second, I also assumed it would have an effect of 0.1 HALYs per person per year. This might be high, so let's assume it has a 1/10th of that impact.

0.01 HALY/person/year on average still seems quite high. We're estimating the average impact across a billion people, and any sort of systemic reform is going to have an enormous number of impacts (of varying magnitudes, in both directions). Attributing 0.01 HALY on average sorta assumes there aren't any really big negative impacts (more precisely, that any negative impacts are insubstantial compared to the positive impacts).

It also seems difficult to separate out the impacts that are appropriate to attribute to the systemic reform from all the other effects that are going on in the background.

All this is to say that I think arriving at believable average-impact estimates for systemic interventions is tricky. It's probably one of the harder parts of making good ceiling-cost estimates.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 22 January 2018 10:34:41PM 2 points [-]

Maybe include the winners in the blurb so we don't have click through to the article?

Comment author: MichaelPlant 17 January 2018 04:14:32PM 1 point [-]

Hmm. Yes, I agree cognitive shifts could be pretty powerful from psychedelics and that IQ points probably won't change. I think I misread you.

The larger part of my scepticism is my intuitive hunch that loads of people wont suddenly start taking psychedelics if they're legal/decrimed. This isn't a strongly informed judgement and I could probably change my mind if presented with compelling reasons.

On the worldview stuff, if the idea is something like "people take drugs and this changes how they think for the better", which I actually think is pretty plausible, a particular challenge is that those who you, I expect, would most like to take such drugs, i.e. the very close-minded, are probably going to be the least likely to take them anyway.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 22 January 2018 10:33:04PM *  0 points [-]

loads of people wont suddenly start taking psychedelics if they're legal/decrimed

I agree that liberalized drug policy is not sufficient to increase the number of people having psychedelic experiences, but it's a prerequisite of many promising interventions in this area (e.g. setting up US-based psychedelic retreat centers).

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 15 January 2018 03:40:21AM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for the thoughts.

I started looking through the CEA and thought it seemed optimistic in various ways

It would be helpful if you could point out places where our best-guess value seems optimistic. The model does include a pretty steep evidence discount – best-guess assumes just a 20% chance that each effect replicates.

I looked it up and AMF is around $1,965 per life saved, equivalent to 36 DALYs, so 1,965/36 = ~$54/DALY

As mentioned in our post, GiveWell has moved away from the DALY framework, so it's not clear that a simple conversion like this is the way to convert its model outputs into DALYs. (We've asked GiveWell for clarification on this.)

the rigors of a GiveWell CEA as well, which would definitely have less optimistic numbers, especially given the low evidence base.

Why do you think a GiveWell CEA would definitely yield less optimistic numbers?

... it might not win compared to the existing top charities.

I don't think this is a great way to think about comparing charities. Quantitative models are complicated & very sensitive to their input parameters, so a "winning" charity may only be winning because of the way a model is structured.

This isn't to say that quantitative comparisons aren't useful. Instead, I think quantitative comparisons are useful for winnowing out interventions whose cost-effect falls orders of magnitude below that of top charities. But I don't think the fidelity of any quantitative model we use today is sufficient to discern the best intervention between interventions on the same order of magnitude.

It becomes even trickier to think about when comparing interventions across very different domains. For example, x-risk interventions either dominate global health interventions (if you take cost-effectiveness estimates literally & are a total utilitarian), or aren't competitive at all (if you only believe cost-effectiveness estimates above some threshold of rigor, so aren't compelled by back-of-the-envelope estimates that massively favor x-risk).

In practice, it seems like the EA community gets by without making direct effectiveness comparisons between x-risk & global health interventions, and instead houses both as priority cause areas.

Something like this is my hope for drug policy reform – a sufficiently compelling case is articulated such that EA decides to house it as a priority cause area (already done to some extent, see Open Phil's grants to the Drug Policy Alliance: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/drug-policy-alliance-drug-decriminalization). It doesn't seem necessary to "win" the cost-effectiveness comparisons, only demonstrate that its cost-effect is competitive under plausible assumptions.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 22 January 2018 10:30:40PM 0 points [-]

Update on how to convert GiveWell's model outputs to DALYs: we asked someone familiar with GiveWell's 2018 cost-effectiveness model about this.

They weren't comfortable being quoted; the gist of their reply is they can't think of a straightforward way to convert from GW model outputs to DALYs that they'd be comfortable using formally.

Comment author: Lila 18 January 2018 04:33:00AM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure how the beliefs in Table 3 would lead to positive social change. Mostly just seems like an increase in some vague theism, along with acceptance/complacency/indifference/nihilism. The former is epistemically shaky, and the latter doesn't seem like an engine for social change.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 18 January 2018 06:34:24PM 0 points [-]

I think the more interesting results are in Figure 2, which show increases in life-satisfaction & positive behavior change that endured 14 months after the intervention.

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